The St. Louis Blues took care of some business on Friday, signing forward David Backes to a 5-year contract extension. The deal will pay him $22.5 million over the length of the contract. For you future number crunchers, that’s an annual average of $4.5 million. Now the big question, is he worth it?
Backes turns 27 years old on May 1. He was the Blues second round pick in the 2003 NHL draft. The power forward has shown signs he can score goals in the past, but Backes has not proven he can score consistently like a top 6 forward should. He currently has two goals in 14 games. Is a 20-goal scorer worth $4.5 million? Probably not, but contracts are inflated all over the league. What was there a lockout for again?
The Blues did the right thing in signing Backes. He should be an important part of the organization’s plans moving forward. He was set to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent July 1, and you can bet your 401K (for those few of you smart enough to have a job) that plenty of teams would have gone into a bidding war for his services. Now with T.J. Oshie out of the lineup for at least three months, and with David Perron still on the shelf with concussion-related symptoms, it is imperative that Backes elevates his play. 20 goals is not acceptable this season, whether he makes $4.5 million or not. He needs to be a physical presence on every shift, play with a passion that made him a 40-goal scorer several seasons ago, and establish himself as a true first line player. Let’s hope now that the contract situation is solved, Backes can concentrate on his game and help carry the Blues offense to greater heights.
About the Author
Written by Dave Frederick
Dave has spent more than 20 years covering the NHL for a variety of different media outlets. Most notably ESPN, Fox Sports and the National Hockey League.